The town on the left bank of the Danube and west of the river Krems is the centre of the Kremstal wine-growing region in Lower Austria. The town was first mentioned in 995 as "Urbs chremisa". As early as 1305, Krems was elevated to the status of a town and its attachment to viticulture was documented in the town charter by the addition of the words "the honour of the town lies mostly in the vineyards" and the name "Cittá del Vino". At the height of their prosperity, more than 50 wine-growing cooperatives ( Lesehöfe ) of ecclesiastical estates from Upper Austria, Salzburg, Bavaria and Southern Bohemia were economically active in Krems and Stein. In the 13th century, almost half of Krems' vineyards were owned by the church or Roman Catholic monastic orders. With 100,000 litres annually, the town of Krems covered three quarters of Lower Austria's wine exports. At that time, three quarters of the town's population lived from winegrowing.